Billy Joe Green (billyjoegreenmusic.com)
The main street strip was where many of us Indian hillbilly musicians made a beginning. Many of us toiled long and hard to perfect our craft. A difficult endeavor fer many of us; feeding our families on $125 a week, tryin' hard to have our music heard and respected. Yes, we got 'paid weekly, very weakly' as Jim Flett would often say.
As it turned out, it was to our advantage, because we played six shows a day, including a daily matinee - 3 p.m to 6 p.m. and returning to perform again from 9 p.m. to 1 am ~ six days a week. That was our training ground and it helped to develop our endurance. To this day I can still play a 90 minute show w/out blinkin'!
It was also where we learned to drink copious amounts of alcohol & sometimes drugs. With the alcohol use came a life full of danger & sometimes self-destruction. Some of us died from the direct result of alcoholism. Through Creator's grace many of us survived and continue to perform. Some folks swear I played harder & faster w/a belly full of beer than I do now. I don't know fer sure.
Yet, along with this formidable dark side, there came a sense of endless fun, accomplishment, community and most often friendly family-like rivalry between the Indian musicians. We would often teach one another a song that had baffled the other endlessly, in return for a similar favour. I learned how to play slide from listening to Clyde Roulette do it nite after nite at the Savoy Hotel in the hot sweaty summer of '77 or '78.
Well, back to today. I see & hear a fine crop of young Indian musicians almost every week. I still attend local jam sessions and for a time hosted one or two. We hope to start that very thing on a Saturday afternoon at this West Hotel, if they'll have us. If not, we'll find a spot for our Neechie Musicians Association to hang our hats.
The West Hotel turned out to be a movie set last year 2010 & the movie company renovated the club there w/new ceramic tiled bathrooms, toilets & sinks, a fenced in parking lot, clean uncluttered service area (bar), etc. So it'll be like a nice 'home-coming'. We played there as a house band in the wild '80s & filled the joint w/Indians, bikers and assorted others & everybody got along nicely. A lil' like the Windsor. They ALL kept coming back in droves. Mebbe we can revive a lil' bit or a whole lotta that.
Well, if Creator's willing & the Wee-nee-beeng don't rise too badly...we'll see ya at the wild West.
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